Penguin Canada rocked by Davidar sexual harassment claim

<p>Outgoing Penguin Canada chief executive David Davidar has been accused of sexual harassment by a former employee of the publishing company resulting in his contract having been &quot;terminated&quot;. The sexual harassment allegations were made by Lisa Rundle, former director of digital publishing and foreign rights for Penguin Canada, in a statement of claim filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on 9th June. Rundle is also claiming damages from Penguin for &quot;wrongful dismissal&quot;. </p><p>In the court documents Rundle has alleged that Davidar &quot;sexually harassed her repeatedly over the past three years, culminating in outright assault at the Frankfurt Book Fair&quot;. </p><p><a href="../news/120544-david-davidar-to-leave-penguin-canada.html" target="_blank" title="http://www.thebookseller.com/news/120544-david-davidar-to-leave-penguin-... Canada announced Davidar&#39;s surprise departure last week claiming that it was voluntary</a>, but in a new statement issued late on Friday prompted by the litigation, Penguin Canada admitted that Davidar had been sacked following the alleged sexual harassment: &quot;Mr. Davidar was asked to leave the company last month and his departure was announced on June 8. Mr. Davidar will play no further role in the company.&quot;</p><p>A statement released by Davidar said he &quot;was disappointed&quot; that Penguin Canada had made a public statement about the litigation, and admitted: &quot;At Penguin&rsquo;s request, I agreed to publicly state that my departure was voluntary. The truth is that a former colleague accused me of sexual harassment and Penguin terminated my employment.&quot;</p><p>Davidar stated: &quot;I had a friendship with my colleague which lasted for three years. I am utterly shocked by the allegations. I am dismayed that Penguin Canada chose to respond to them by directing me to leave Penguin. I intend to defend the allegations vigorously in the courts, and I am certain that the truth will prevail. As I said earlier this week, I intend to pursue my writing career. I do not intend to make further comment on the pending legal proceedings.&quot;</p><p>Canadian newspaper the <em>Globe and Mail</em> reports that <a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/books/sexual-harassment-suit-rocks-pengui... target="_blank" title="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/books/sexual-harassment-suit-rocks-pengui... is claiming damages of $423,000 from Penguin for wrongful dismissal</a> and the &quot;harsh, vindictive and malicious fashion&quot; with which it allegedly treated her following her complaints against Davidar. She is also seeking damages of $100,000 against Davidar personally.</p><p>In its statement Penguin Canada insisted that &quot;Rundle was not terminated by Penguin Canada&quot;. But Rundle&rsquo;s lawyer, Bobbi Olsen, <a href="http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/822920--plot-thickens-in-penguin... target="_blank" title="http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/822920--plot-thickens-in-penguin... the company&rsquo;s claim</a>, telling the <em>Toronto Star</em> that her client had spent eight years working her way up and had expressed that she wanted to continue working for the company, just not directly with Davidar.</p><p>Penguin Canada said that it now expects to appoint a new head of the Canadian company in the &quot;near future&quot;.</p><p>Davidar is the author of the novel<em> The House of Blue Mangoes</em>, which was published in 2002 by HarperCollins. His second novel, <em>The Solitude of Emperors</em>, was published in 2007 by Weidenfeld &amp; Nicolson.&nbsp;</p>